Following on from yesterday's post all about the BETT 2017 Microsoft Partner Campus, we will be sharing a number of guest blog contributions from Microsoft Partners found both in the Campus itself, and also those who are exhibiting elsewhere in the hall. This series of guest blogs has become a regular feature of our BETT coverage in recent years, and we are pleased to continue this tradition.
First up, we have a post from Tute Education, who can be found in the Microsoft Partner Campus (Stand C300), as well as having their own stand situated at D100. Tute Education provides schools with an easy, simple and measurable way to raise attainment. Using Tute reduces the challenges, cost and time needed to engage students.
Eight Out of Ten Students Prefer Learning Online
“Eight out of ten owners say their cats prefer Whiskas” Do you remember that famous advertising slogan from Pedigree Pet Foods (other cat foods are available, of course!)? Pretty clever really – you couldn’t find a cat that would argue with that claim!
Pedigree spent millions of pounds through the 90s telling the nation that Whiskas was the obvious choice because they felt that an 80% endorsement was strong enough to effect a change in behaviour. They were right as Whiskas soon became the UK’s favourite pet food – well for cat owners at least. The power of advertising, eh!
So how is advertising cat food relevant to education? Other than conjuring some dubious puns, it’s hard to draw any correlation really. But the point of this blog isn’t to talk about successful advertising, but rather to look at what catalyses change. The stimulus for Pedigree was that 80% of cat owners couldn’t be wrong, and that immediately put consumers not buying Whiskas into the minority. Nobody likes being in a minority, hence the prompt to switch. It transformed Whiskas to become market leader, a position it still holds today.
Transformation comes when the majority adopt or endorse a product or service. I believe that online teaching – anytime, anywhere learning - is about to become transformational. Why? Because recent independent research amongst hundreds of pupils using Tute showed that 81.4% preferred online learning to the classroom. Perhaps a more telling figure is the 90% of students who would recommend Tute to others.
Learners today want to adopt technology to support their learning because it’s endemic in their everyday lives. When research (a two-year programme of study amongst hundreds of learners, run by a PhD student studying at the University of Chester) highlights such a significant preference, how can responsible leadership teams in schools not include online as part of their core provision? How is there any argument to not undertake some initial programmes, and to understand how online teaching can effect change, and transform pupil outcomes.
At Tute, we’ve seen school refusers with 0% attendance move to 100% and pass their GCSEs. We’ve worked with schools to help them out of special measures because engagement in learning has improved. We deliver teaching in evenings, at weekends and during school holidays to help support teaching in school, and to amplify provision. We create impact because 90.6% of pupils enjoy our lessons. It is amazing, and it is effecting change for the better.
But more fundamentally, our success indicates a pervasive need to embrace digital literacy. A recent report by the House of Lords stated very clearly that this ‘school generation’ had to be supported to achieve three key outcomes during their school career: numeracy, literacy and digital literacy. The addition of digital was seen as key to ensure that pupils have employability skills, and to sustain the UK’s competitive advantage which, given Brexit, is now even more crucial.
Technology has the capacity to transform not only a pupil’s performance or that of a school, but also the performance of the UK economy. I cannot see any reason why digital literacy should not form a key component of any School Improvement Plan, or why online teaching is not in the tool box for SLTs to use to transform strategies. The numbers speak for themselves.
Our challenge is not to convince students about the benefit of teaching online. Our challenge is to convince leadership teams that we have a rightful place in schools. I look forward to the day when eight out of ten school leaders prefer learning online. We will be in a better place.
Tute provides schools with an easy, simple and measurable way to raise attainment. Visit Tute in the Microsoft Partner Campus (C300) for more information.